Having 2 Kids Is the Perfect Number ... For Some Families

Rant 15

number of kidsIt seems like, as parents, we all want easy answers. We want to know what the best way is to get our babies to sleep without making them sad. We want to know how to potty train them without making them hate the bathroom. We want them to dress modestly, but also express their individuality. Yes, we all want perfection. Which is why it's not surprising that there is currently a conversation on CafeMom about what the "perfect" number of children is for most families.

Sadly, the answer is not that simple. There is no one "perfect" number of kids. And there is really no way of knowing how many kids you can handle and be happy with until you have them. Yeah, yeah. It's so fun.

This is why the idea that having one child is "selfish" is truly so obnoxious. In fact, if you know you can only handle one and only be a good parent to one, then it's about the most UNSELFISH choice you can make. It's the right choice for your kid. In other families, that number could be higher.

As a mom, I am struggling with this question myself right now. We had two in rapid succession. At just 18 months apart, my children have an enviable bond that is one of my most gratifying parts of being a parent.

My kids have each other's backs. They always have. At the playground nobody better mess with either one or they will face the wrath of the other. When we moved 600 miles from our home, they had each other at the end of nerve-wracking days at a new school.

So as we decide on a third (or even a fourth just to round things out), it occurs to me that I will never know whether three (or four) is "perfect" until I try. And then, like all moms, I will have my three (or four) and will love them all so much, I could never say which one I would give away. So that number will be "perfect." In fact, maybe that is the reality. Maybe your "perfect" number of kids is the number you end up with. The end.

Maybe we are all over-thinking this a bit. In the end, the family you end up with is "perfect." There is no sense judging the mother with one child and there is no sense in judging the Duggars, either. We all make our own choices about childbearing, and assuming we can all care for and afford our children, then there is nothing wrong with choosing to have one. Or five. Or 15.

The "perfect" family is the one you make.

Do you think there is a "perfect" number of kids?


Image via lrargerich/Flickr

sibling rilvary


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redK8... redK8blueSt8

I think for the vast majority it's all a matter of preference and responsibility. For "Octomom", 14 was too much and selfish. For the Duggars, 19 is fine. Don't have em if you can't take care of em, you know?

However, there is new research coming out of China comparing the kids born post "one child law", that shows that generation (born after 1979) are farring for the worse on issues effecting society like work ethic, compassion, selfishness, and motivation.

OoOJa... OoOJanisOoO

For once Sasha, I completely agree with you! As long as you can provide for your kids how many you have is nobody's business but your own. This also goes for People who choose to have none.  

jalaz77 jalaz77

Yea it's true but what I notice with the Duggars is the older kids are helping far more than they should with the younger kids and they shouldn't have too. My 7 yo likes to help but I limit it because I am the parent and she is the kid. There are certain things she shouldn't have to do...

nonmember avatar Todd Vrancic

I totally agree with this! My wife's favorite joke (credit Erma Bombeck) is that we were members of "Unplanned Parenthood." None of our children were planned, but they were all very much wanted. They are all either married or in college, and we think we did a reasonable job.

happy... happymama2D

This is interesting. We put a lot of thought into whether or not to have a third and ultimately decided to go for it. Most of the reasons for having more are intangible, while the reasons for keeping the status quo can be more easily put onto paper, you know? Ultimately, after almost 2 years of trying for that third, I am starting to believe that although I am very disappointed, maybe there is a higher power that knows better than I that our family is perfect just the way it is. :)

ethan... ethans_momma06

There really is only what's right for you.

I worried what it would be like for my oldest when we had another. Things def. changed, but I'm REALLY happy that we did. Not always, but in many cases, a sibiling can be such a wonderful life expirience. Even if it's not perfect. Now I wonder what it would be like with 3- but I'm pretty sire Im done at 2.

Blues... Blueshark77

With #1 due in a few weeks it's hard to say what we will decide about future children. Ideally we'd like to have one more, but who knows what will happen. We were very surprised to find out we were having this one, we thought we'd need fertility help. We decided to let nature take over if we had kids or not. We'll do that again after our daughter is born, but will probably use birth control after #2 comes along, if it does. That's our personal preference about # of kids, and we don't judge anyone with more, less, or none at all.

Nelli... NellieAthome

jalaz77 - it is only with the post baby boomer generations that  multi-generational families have become the rarity instead of the norm.  Older kids helping with younger kids is somehow seen as wrong. People lived that way for thousands of years. I doubt it is a coincidence that this "children are children and should not be responsible in the home" attitude coincides with an increase in irresponsible children and adults and an increase in elders who are shipped off to homes instead of being cared for in the bosom of their family.

Senia... Seniahmom

We definitely would like more than our two. Hopefully we can.

And it always stuns me when people talk about older kids helping. That called education and responsibilty and developing self-sufficiency. All good things. I'm better for it and know far too many who didn't have chores or have to help out, etc and they are entitled snots.

jalaz77 jalaz77

There are still limitations NellieAtHome. Again older kids shouldn't have to help as much as they do, then have kids of their own to take care of THEN take care of mom and dad...where do you draw the line. And sadly there are quit a few elderly people who live at home and are being taken care of by family who doesn't know how to take care of a person with medical needs.

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